Indiana Daily Student

IU graduate student Abby Ang shares experience as founder of No Space for Hate

<p>Abby Ang, 27, is an IU graduate student who founded an organization called No Space for Hate to combat a surge in local white supremacy in 2019.</p>

Abby Ang, 27, is an IU graduate student who founded an organization called No Space for Hate to combat a surge in local white supremacy in 2019.

Abby Ang, 27, is an IU graduate student studying bugs in medieval literature, and she doesn’t stay quiet about what bugs her in the local community.

“Trying to do something else other than just be at IU to get my degree,” Ang said.

When she’s not busy working on her dissertation or teaching as an associate instructor, Ang is volunteering her time to make a positive change in Bloomington. Her activism began after the 2016 election, which led to her joining a local chapter of a nationwide movement called Indivisible that is focused on political change.

Ang later founded an organization called No Space for Hate to combat a surge in local white supremacy in 2019.

“I didn’t start with the intention of doing an organization,” she said.

Ang only intended to send an open letter voicing concerns about a specific vendor in the Bloomington farmer’s market, but soon turned her efforts into growing a group focused on educating the community about white supremacy. She wanted to show how modern white supremacy can look very different from more overt groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and actively recruits people even in Bloomington.

“I marvel at her dedication,” Ang’s friend and fellow activist Natalia Galvan said.

No Space for Hate has evolved to host a mutual aid network in Monroe County, which connects people to critical resources such as food and rent payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections — we all have something to offer and we all have something we need,” the group’s website reads.

Yet some of the people requesting help have been very unkind. Ang said she had to ban someone from the mutual aid network after they requested help avoiding a COVID-19 test, then after being denied, they blamed her for the pandemic because she’s Chinese.

“A lot of the brunt of this organizing work means that I get a lot of racist responses from others,” Ang said.

She has found herself tokenized and people’s go-to Asian representative, which has been very isolating for her compared to the diversity she found growing up in Rhode Island. The racism she has encountered reminds her of the importance of minorities advocating for other minorities and movements like Black Lives Matter. Her activism has not stopped, despite difficulties.

Ang fits her leadership efforts into a busy daily schedule. Ang appreciates the stark difference between her studies and the activist work she does.

“It feels like a nice break,” Ang said.

The latest project of activism Ang is working on is pushing for more transparency from IU regarding its bias incident reporting service to ensure its efficiency and efficacy. That effort would lead to lasting change, even though she knows she will graduate sooner rather than later. Despite this, Ang said she has no worries about the future of her organization.

“I think some form of this work will continue in some shape or manner,” she said.

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